Cattle deal to boost investment
Industry leaders expect Indonesia to boost its investment in northern cattle stations in response to moves to open up live exports to China.
Indonesia Institute president Ross Taylor and Pastoralists and Graziers Association past president Rob Gillam said Indonesians were more likely to buy stations to secure cattle after mining magnate Andrew Forrest confirmed work on a live export deal with China.
Mr Gillam said access to China would spark long-term domestic and foreign investment in grazing land and increased production, with the benefits not limited to cattle properties in the north.
"We have seen Indonesian interest in acquiring northern Australian properties and I would think that will increase," he said.
Indonesia has flagged food security as a major issue in talks about cross-investment in the beef industry as demand for cattle threatens to exceed supply.
Santori, the beef division of Indonesia's Japfa Foods, bought two Northern Territory stations last year amid speculation more purchases would follow.
Mr Taylor said Australia could use its expertise in farming and livestock handling to build business partnerships with Indonesian and Chinese interests beyond just selling cattle.
WA Beef Council chairman Tony Hiscock said it was an exciting time for the industry as cattle became hot property, but warned it would take co-operation among producers and along the supply chain to capitalise fully on the booming demand in South-East Asia and China.
Indonesia, Australia's biggest customer for cattle, is expected to import about 720,000 head this year, up from 454,152 in 2013.
The State Government estimates similar demand from China once Beijing eases strict quarantine laws. "We will have to increase productivity to meet the demand that no doubt is just around the corner," Agriculture Minister Ken Baston said.
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